Chattanooga agent Nathan Walldorf’s name was already on the door when he started in real estate.
Well, it was his father’s name, really. And his father had taken the agency over from Nathan’s grandfather. So as a new agent, Nathan had his work cut out for him.
“Just because my name was in the company name didn’t mean that people were flocking to me, throwing houses at me to sell,” he laughed. So Nathan didn’t need to build a brand name… he needed to build a brand new kind of Walldorf.
How to accelerate in a slowing market
As he describes it, the first few years of his real estate career were lean to say the least. But slowly, one client at a time, Nathan built up a network and a reputation. Then the housing bubble burst, the economy tanked and Nathan…. had his best year ever.
How did that happen? A combination of elements, including a well optimized web site and constant networking. And then, there was Volkswagen.
In 2008, the carmaker began construction on a new assembly plant in Chattanooga. That meant new jobs. And new jobs meant relocating employees. One such employee worked with Nathan, and the rest is history. “That one client put me in front of the relocation team in Volkswagon human resources.”
Most of those clients were first time homebuyers, so Nathan doesn’t characterize them as windfall commissions. But he knows the network he built then — and continues to grow now — is beyond value.
Staying in touch, staying top of mind
That network became the cornerstone of Nathan’s sphere of influence. And staying in touch with his sphere is the best way he drives his real estate business.
“I have a newsletter, I use BombBomb and I have an Adwerx campaign for my listings and my own brand, too.” Nathan makes use of marketing automation, but makes sure to personalize the content.
These technology tools help Nathan stay closer to his sphere, rather than supplanting his own interactions. At the same time, clients are more plugged into the real estate industry than ever before. Which presents its own complications.
Handling the data-driven real estate client
With so many real estate web sites feeding home buyers and sellers data, market reports readily available and FSBO sources emerging, many people wonder what role a real estate agent has to play these days.
“That’s the challenge,” he said. “You have some buyers and sellers that are flooded with information. How do they process the data? There are so many voices online — how do they know who is an expert and what can be trusted?”
That’s where an agent — a good agent — comes in.
“An agent is important to help you evaluate. Agents aren’t meant to push anyone into a transaction. But I’ve seen too many people buy houses without an agent and find out they overpaid or that during negotiations they didn’t have someone in their corner.”
And that’s the brand that Nathan Walldorf has built: advocate. Today, he’s president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS®. And he delivers on his brand promise every day.